HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Corbett presented awards to four state agencies for their efforts to save money, increase productivity and improve service. The first Innovation of the Year awards were presented on Wednesday at the Innovation Expo in Harrisburg.
"These are just a few examples of how employees throughout state government are working to bring about meaningful changes and improvements to how we operate," Corbett said. "The efficiencies and cost savings – more than $175 million so far - have played a vital role in maintaining funding and services through years of tight budgets."
The Governor's Innovation Office has tracked more than 80 projects undertaken by state agencies with a combined $175 million in cost savings and productivity gains. An additional 140 projects with an estimated $200 million in savings and productivity are in progress.
Agencies presented their innovations to a panel of private sector judges, who evaluated and selected the top initiatives.
The Innovation of the Year awards were presented to:
First Place: Department of General Services – Vehicle Reform
Acting on Governor Corbett's pledge to reduce the number of state-owned vehicles, the Department of General Services implemented reforms that have eliminated nearly 2,000 vehicles, which is about 20 percent of all passenger vehicles in the state fleet. Total savings are estimated at more than $40 million.
Key changes include contracting with a rental car chain to replace the commonwealth's temporary vehicle fleet, assigning vehicles to employees based on their business usage, and updating vehicle and travel policies.
Second Place: Department of General Services – Real Estate Consolidation
Through this initiative, DGS has eliminated 394,000 square feet of space owned or leased by the commonwealth, saving more than $7 million annually.
By analyzing rental rates, locations and total costs across the commonwealth's real estate portfolio, the department worked with state agencies to consolidate and relocate staff to eliminate unused space. DGS has also worked to standardize its future lease agreements in order to streamline reviews and approvals.
"It is truly an honor for both of the DGS innovation initiatives to win the top two awards. This is like an award for all state agencies, as DGS couldn't have reported these savings without the support and cooperation of all the agencies," state General Services Secretary Sheri Phillips said. "I am especially proud of the efforts put forth by the employees at DGS to find innovative ways to increase the quality of services we provide, while at the same time decreasing our cost of doing business. Today's awards are a validation of all the hard work performed by state government employees to ensure that we are being responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars."
Third Place: PennDOT – Innovative Mobile Environment
PennDOT has developed two mobile web applications to increase the productivity of its workforce and business partners. The Local Roads and Bridge App is a first-of-its-kind process mobile application to create an inventory of Pennsylvania's locally-owned roads and bridges.
In addition, the Roadway Condition Surveys App eliminates the need for surveyors to complete paper-based inspections in the field which then needed to be entered manually into a central system creating a one-step, more efficient process.
PennDOT is now working on mobile applications for driver license testing, public transit inspections, construction site inspections and bridge inspections.
Honorable Mention: Department of Public Welfare – Happy Campers
In 2012, the Department of Public Welfare partnered with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to use its facilities at Hickory Run State Park for its annual summer camping trip for residents of the DPW White Haven Center. The new camping location provided significant cost savings to DPW, which were reinvested in providing a greater variety of activities to residents both during the camping trip and throughout the year.
To learn more about innovation in state government or to submit your own idea, go to www.innovation.pa.gov.
Media contact: Dan Egan, Office of Administration, 717-772-4237
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor